For many people, a diet with an "inverted pyramid" focused on vegetables, fruits and whole grains is de rigueur. I'm not sure this book will push these people far from that "inverted pyramid". However, for certain classes of these healthy eaters, this book seems to have some well-documented items to think about. High triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol are one class of people the author singles out as potentially having to make dietary changes. Sugar is named as the driving factor behind the triglycerides. The key for the author is the inflammatory effects of weight and sugar on the body. The author cites multiple studies that describe high triglycerides and low HDL as a dangerous condition. His recipe is cut the sugar and preprocessed foods, monitor progress with a number of specific tests, and consider the potential of specific supplements. The author considers this condition more dangerous than high LDL cholesterol yet many doctors would view this type of patient with ambivalence all else being equal. If this describes you and your doctor is not concerned, you may want to read the book and consider making some changes. Another group of folks are folks who consume an imbalance of Omega 6s versus Omega 3 fats. Lots of folks with an under control LDL have some degree of ambivalence with regard to fats. This book tells those folks to pay more attention to the type of fats they consume and considers Omega6 versus Omega 3 to be pretty highly inflammatory. Again this class of person should read the book, read the citations, and think about taking action (which is spelled out in dietary recommendations, tests, and potential supplements).
For healthy eaters who try to manage their health by understanding the impact of diet on the body this book is highly recommended. This book will challenge many preconceptions you might have about the importance of cholesterol and will challenge you to think more deeply about the impact of sugar and inflammation on health. It will also recommend that you study different types of cholesterol than is customary right now. It will give you a list of specific tests that will help you gauge inflammation in your body. It will also recommend a list of supplements that may be effective depending upon your particular situation.
For unhealthy eaters, this book is also highly recommended as it puts a focus on sugar (and processed foods) not so much on fats and cholesterol. While the book is somewhat controversial in that it worries far less on the impact of cholesterol on health, for most folks I know who have unhealthy diets... sugar is their real problem. I believe a focus on sugar... reducing the dependence that many have on sugar is a surer first step to a healthy life than a focus on cholesterol reduction. Not a doctor, not an unhealthy eater... but I believe this book is a must read for these folks.
Really enjoyed the book and highly recommend it to technically literate folks who want background on cancer. However I feel that the scope of the book and a sporadic job by the editor led to inevitable conflicts which if resolved could have made the book better. By focusing more on the practitioner experiences/perspectives, this book would have provided more value to caregivers / friends to those with cancer. As it is, the book comes off as a slightly technically naive history of cancer with a very rushed exit to a final scene where all is coming up rosy despite a lack of convincing rationale for such an optimistic state of affairs. It was probably too difficult to determine target readers and enforce corresponding scope rules on such a broad and technical topic. By focusing more on the technical logic within the historical analysis this book would have had more credibility to the technically literate (but probably would have been considerably longer). By focusing more on the practitioner experience, many of us who are friends / caregivers might have developed relevant insights to help us help friends with cancer. But for me anyway, the book meandered with purposes too broad leaving me happy I read the book, but not believing the seemingly unjustified optimism of the final chapters while wondering how such a thoughtful writer and practitioner wouldn't have more personal insights and recommendations relevant to caregiving in such difficult situations.
Highly recommend the book. Just thought a more disciplined scope could have made it better. If you have no technical background in biology or interest in such matters, not sure this is the book for you. If you have no background and are motivated, I think you should be able to get through this and probably be very happy you took on the challenge.
I am a bit of a history amateur. I've read plenty of history books, but as far as the history of the British Empire, the closest I had come was schoolboy textbooks and a few Winston books. So I was a little wary about whether I really wanted to indulge in 36 or so lectures about the subject.
But I was wrong. I found this subject to be very fascinating. To gain an appreciation for the other side of the US revolution, gave me a better appreciation for the uniqueness of the British and American empires. Seeing how the spheres collided time and time again, finally leading to the passing of the torch is interesting in that it never really needed to be this way. Not that I've become a Tory or that the book lectures the British in a positive light, its just that seen through the prism of time and global influence, the English speaking peoples had much more in common than they had differences. Of course most serious historians have been repeating that for decades, but these lectures really drove the point home. It was also refreshing to see the history from the eyes other than a Churchill biographer. Churchill had a profound impact upon the world, but was a rare and unique breed of person that said little about the British leaders themselves. People and their aspirations perhaps, but even then the record is mixed.
It also struck me that the US from the time of WWI argued through WW's principles that imperialism had run its course and by the end of WWII, the British themselves agreed they no longer wanted to be responsible for running an imperialist system either from an economic or moral perspective. There is quote about opportunities for freedom bringing forth the best in the nature of man, the opportunities to allocate the governance once that freedom has been won bringing forth the worst in that same man. And so it began as the British Empire dissolves, myriad immature systems elevate their men to the pedestal... nationalism, socialism, fabianism, democracy ... the book touches upon how these and other systems compete for power as men and women across the Empire are given their "freedom".
For me a good book whets the appetite, and this series will certainly inspire many more book choices for me. There is much more in the lecture series to recommend. Recommend going to the great courses website to see the titles of the lectures. This covers the major territories of the British Empire, including India, South Africa, US, Australia and discussed their formation, operating modes and events, and dissolution from the empire. It also touches upon social and political changes over the years and shows how they had a very large impact upon public opinion and subsequent British desires to stop the imperialist system. Highly recommended lecture series. Seemed to be fair and balanced to me, but I am a bit of a history noob. I may have called this lecture series a book, but there is no book that I could find. Just 36 lectures.
Middle schooler read this for his class. Great book. Gets into many issues this generation of kids will have to wrestle with. What is human what is not. What is the proper use of human beings regarding organ transplantation, etc.,etc. So many books that our generation read the kids just don't get into. But this book really engages them.
I really enjoyed the book. Easy read. Clear writing style. It largely focuses on the careers and activities of the Dulles brothers as Secretary of State and CIA director.
I did have some concerns regarding bias from the author. He talks about several areas with implied disdain that I find to be incredibly naive. For instance, he speaks about how deal makers catered their pitches to the biases of the other side. Of course anyone interested in getting the deal done will do this and not feel bad about it. Each side has to do their own due diligence and negotiate on the basis of their findings. The religious mocking is also a bit grating to me. The author should have focused on how the professional actions of the brothers were contrary to fundamental religious tenets. But the reality is that people do and say what they have to in order to gain acceptance by the public for their plan of action.
This is all addressed in the last chapter, where the author reveals his beliefs and biases, which is both refreshing and worrisome. I really enjoy history when it is presented as just the facts. Clearly this author tried to do that in his book, but was not 100 percent successful. Slapping a last chapter on that then answers the big questions addressed by the book is cheating in my view. That last chapter could have been the basis for the next book while allowing the current book to become a less biased "just the facts" history book. Then he could have done his point of view justice in the new book.
Anyway, the book may be a bit biased, but is highly recommended to see how corporations, the US, Russia, nationalism stepped into the void left by the fall of British imperialism. The focus in the book is on the US side of this, but the reader gets valuable glimpses into how all the players were playing in a brand new sandbox. I find the author's belief's chapter to be a bit naive, but since it was just slapped on at the end, I don't find it to diminish the value of the book.
Functional Medicine is at a high level an engineering type of systems analysis of the human body. Terry Wahls while under assault from MS, took a functional medicine approach to helping her body fight back against MS. This is notable for many reasons not the least of which are her examples of tenacity, mental strength, and perseverance in extreme adversity. But it is also notable because she trusted her body that was failing her to fix her. Many practitioners, theoreticians, and laypeople are coming to a conclusion that many of today's most troubling diseases are caused by metabolic / mitochondrial dysfunction. Solving metabolic dysfunction was at the root of Dr. Wahl's approach and she initially designed a supplement program to help her mitochondrial become more powerful. As she began to feel better she designed a diet to replace much of her supplement regimen.
So what you are getting in this book is a diet that is aimed at restoration of your mitochondrial power. Many practitioners think this is a strategy that can be successful for diseases such as diabetes, MS, palsy, CFS, etc. Whether you are sick or healthy, you could likely benefit from comparing and contrasting this diet with your own. There is a ton of wisdom built into this diet. Our bodies are all different so dietary "hacking"/"tweaking" is almost always necessary, but this diet would make a great starting place for someone looking to change their current health trajectory.
If you're one of these people, this book is great as a resource so that you can understand more of how we all got to this point in time.
How you may have eaten what was inappropriately labeled "healthy" food in the grocery store and found yourself with a number of illnesses. How you might start to explore finding a diet that could cure your illnesses (she mentions a number of researchers such as Volek and Phinney). How you can understand why your doctor who seems pretty reasonable can be so completely against a system that is working for you.
There is so much in this book. I have not read Taubes. But if you are one of the multitude of Americans who are realizing that they must take responsibility for their health, I would highly recommend this book. Shocking to hear how the trans-fats became outlawed, even more shocking to realize that whats next is not necessarily tried and true. The establishment has banished saturated fat and is sticking to the story, come hell or high water. You also get the inside story on the Mediterranean diet, olive soybean and palm oil. You can't make this stuff up. Although many are attacking the author for exactly that. Reality always trumps fiction. Science is settled despite the rapidly increasing obesity rates. You want to know why healthcare costs so much? This is a great book to start to understand that government and doctors have duped the public into a system that values conformity of message over adversarial scientific truth seeking. This is all about to change and this book will help you understand why.
Bad news is you have to be your own physician. Good news is there are movements like Functional Medicine which offer hope to many of us who have been failed by the system.
The human body is an amazing system. Surprisingly we have very few genes and even fewer genes that make meaningful distinctions among us. Functional medicine offers a way to begin to think about how our genes are interacting with our environment, broadly defined. That broadly defined means hazards as well as diet.
Too many of us have just accepted the "wisdom" of some doctor. Take this pill and you'll be fine. Hey you're an allergy freak, but my allergy shots will desensitize you. Ummm, yeah you're kinda close to metabolic disorder, but a statin will fix that right up. Run harder, longer, accept that your basal metabolic rate is 50-60% of what it should be. It would be comical if it weren't so tragic.
If you love someone whose health is not right or are someone who feels like something just isn't quite right with their health and you want to understand how to think about what might be wrong and how to begin taking healing steps, this book is a great place to start. There is a difficulty because there are so few skilled functional medicine practitioners, but perhaps a dialogue with a trusted open minded physician could enlist an ally. There are likely resources online as well, but caveat emptor. But a better informed patient is more capable of understanding the hazards of different courses of action and weather the blistering criticisms of the big pharma reps (formerly called doctors). This book will give you the tools to be a better informed patient. Some experimentation is also necessary because our genetic codes are all different... so what works for some may not work for you. But you'll be on a more hopeful, optimistic, and empowering journey to restore your health.
Really enjoyed several chapters and even the slower chapters were interesting. But it is a slightly disjointed collection of stories with no unifying theme that I could discern other than they were about gold. I don't know much about gold, so this was an interesting but far from systematic approach to learning about the metal. If you're in the same boat, I recommend this book as an easy eight hour way to "get your feet wet" in order to motivate a more thorough examination of the metal. Probably a good book for people who don't want any more gold knowledge than the 8 hours of interesting stories that are in this book.
The author is Keynesian, but of course these days who isn't, and this may lead to the lackadaisical approach. If you don't see any value in the metal, its hard to take seriously a systematic comprehensive effort to learn about it. This Keynesian philosophy appears from time to time, but mostly in the first couple of chapters. It is slightly annoying because of the contradiction and perhaps the author should have addressed why a Keynesian who sees little reason for gold should stop to write a book about it. Anyway, recommend that you push past the Keynesian stuff. It doesn't last long and shouldn't detract from your enjoyment of what is a flawed but highly interesting book. If you're a gold bug and know alot about the metal, you should really peruse the TOC to see if you should read this book. Gold experts may not see much value in the book.
There are several warnings I would give to someone considering this investment in time. This is a course of 48 lectures delivered by a professor who is relatively monotone and does not convey warmth or enthusiasm the way most people do. I felt that I got used to the way she uses tone and I got over it. If you can't do monotone, you should consider whether this course is for you. Very long course, but commensurate with scope. Despite the length, the topics are treated at a high level. Most readers will find a percentage of lectures that they feel they know better than the professor. You may find her viewpoint in some lectures to be a bit naive, very liberal, or flat out wrong. If this puts you off and you are a conservative or libertarian, you may have difficulty finishing the course. Personally I found the perspective and the focus on "democracy" to be incredibly interesting. She is unabashedly focused on the struggle for democracy even though we find democracy to be in quite a bit of trouble recently, and our founders were not very sanguine about the future of democracy and thus designed a republic. Democracy may not fit in all places, and it may at the end of the day not be the correct system to manage the affairs of human beings, but I think most alternative anchors for a course of the 20th century would fail miserably. Like it or not most in the US believe in the living constitution as well as the Tocquevillian tumble towards equality in all things. Conservatives and libertarians who can accept democracy as an anchor should be able to enjoy and gain insight into how liberals view the 20th century. The broad scope is reflected in the lectures. I would recommend that you Google great courses pamela radcliff 20th century and look at the lecture list. Most non-expert history buffs will find alot here that they will enjoy. Highly recommended. Will challenge your perspective and help you understand better the liberal viewpoint. There was also a PDF course guidebook that I found while googling. I actually believe these guidebooks are essential for many of these courses. Not essential for this one as she sticks to her notes which are very related to the guidebook. If you find the guidebook it may also help you decide if this course is for you.
The author took up Tocqueville prior to running for office a few years prior. If what you are looking for is an understanding of Tocqueville's visit, impressions of America and their relation to democracy as understood by the author and Tocqueville, the author does an admirable job.
It is only natural to ask questions about the Tocqueville visit in relation to the founding or in relation to today's society, but the author is focused solely on Tocqueville's firsthand account of his experiences in America. For the author to have veered off into these tangents, would have detracted from the focus, clarity of the book. Tocqueville spent almost a year in America and seems to have been an exceptionally insightful young man. This book will certainly challenge and inform your views of the Republic, democracy, and America in the early 1800s. Highly recommended.
This is a long book (24 courses) and that is perhaps the only criticism I had of the course. Much of what Tocqueville wrote is of interest to today and/or in context of the founding, but almost all readers will find their interest during the course to wax and wane. For me there were only a few topics where I just didn't have much of interest. Women in America, the sciences and education in America. Its not that the points weren't of interest but I feel as if the 1830 ish view and today's view are not an interesting juxtaposition, which is a big reason why I read courses / books like this.
Book is highly recommended for anyone looking to understand Tocqueville's visit and its relation to democracy. This is a cornerstone course. It won't answer any of your burning questions but it will certainly lay a strong foundation for understanding the roots of democracy in America. With democracies failing all over the world I think a course like this should be required reading for old and young alike as we are almost certain to live to see whats old come new again.
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